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Enhanced progesterone support during stimulated cycles of transvaginal follicular aspiration improves bovine in vitro embryo production

Simmons, Rob; Tutt, Des AR.; Tutt, Des AR; Guven-Ates, Gizem; Kwong, Wing Yee; Labrecque, R.; Randi, Federico; Sinclair, Kevin D.


Rob Simmons

Research Fellow

Des AR Tutt

Gizem Guven-Ates

Wing Yee Kwong

R. Labrecque

Federico Randi

Professor of Developmental Biology


The in vitro production (IVP) of cattle embryos requires that germinal-vesicle stage oocytes undergo a period of maturation in vitro prior to fertilization and culture to the blastocyst stage. Success of IVP in taurine cattle is enhanced following ovarian stimulation prior to oocyte retrieval (OPU), particularly if preceded by a short period of FSH withdrawal (‘coasting’). However, evidence regarding the importance of progesterone (P4) support during OPU-IVP is equivocal. The current study, therefore, determined the effects of increased peripheral P4 concentrations during FSH-stimulated (‘coasted’) cycles of OPU. Progesterone support was provided by either an active corpus luteum (CL) and/or one of two intravaginal P4 releasing devices (i.e., CIDR® [1.38 g P4] or PRID® Delta [1.55 g P4]). Expt. 1 established an initial estrus prior to OPU, allowing CL formation (single luteal phase) spanning the first two of five cycles of OPU; the remaining three cycles were supported by either a CIDR® or PRID® Delta. Expt. 2 commenced with two cycles of dominant follicle removal (including prostaglandin F2α) undertaken seven days apart prior to six cycles of OPU. The absence of a CL meant that these cycles were supported only by a CIDR® or PRID® Delta. As each experiment involved several sequential cycles of OPU, the cumulative effects of device use on vaginal discharges were also assessed. Each experiment involved 10 sexually mature Holstein heifers. In the absence of a CL, peak plasma P4 concentrations were greater (P = 0.002) for the PRID® Delta (4.3 ± 0.22) than for the CIDR® (2.9 ± 0.22). In Expt. 1 there was an interaction (P < 0.05) between CL presence at OPU and P4 device on Day 8 blastocyst yields, indicating an effect of P4 device only when the CL was absent. The percentage hatching/hatched blastocysts of matured oocytes for the CIDR® and PRID® Delta was 44.3 ± 5.04 and 41.0 ± 5.40 in the presence, and 17.1 ± 3.48 and 42.2 ± 3.76 in the absence, of a CL (P = 0.018). Combined analyses of data from Expt. 1 and 2, when no CL was present, confirmed that Day 8 blastocyst yields were greater (P = 0.022) for the PRID® Delta than the CIDR®. Vaginal discharge scores were higher (P < 0.001) for the PRID® Delta than the CIDR® in Expt. 1 but not in Expt 2; however scores were low, did not increase with repeated use, and thus were deemed of no clinical or welfare concern. In conclusion, enhanced P4 support during FSH-stimulated cycles of OPU-IVP can improve in vitro embryo development.


Simmons, R., Tutt, D. A., Tutt, D. A., Guven-Ates, G., Kwong, W. Y., Labrecque, R., …Sinclair, K. D. (2023). Enhanced progesterone support during stimulated cycles of transvaginal follicular aspiration improves bovine in vitro embryo production. Theriogenology, 199, 77-85.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 3, 2023
Online Publication Date Jan 25, 2023
Publication Date Mar 15, 2023
Deposit Date Jan 6, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 11, 2023
Print ISSN 0093-691X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 199
Pages 77-85
Keywords Equine, Animal Science and Zoology, Food Animals, Small Animals
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